Yeah, I Used to Run

Being stubborn has the potential to help us. That’s called perseverance. Other times, being stubborn can just lead us into trouble and difficulties.

Welcome  I have another story of “real life” today.  I am a stubborn person.  Pretty much anyone who knows me can verify that fact.  Today I will share an example of how stubbornness helped and hindered an area of my life, almost at the same time.  And because I’m talking about running today, I am going to share some verses that became mantras during my runs, along with some healthy post-run snacks.  Even if you don’t want to run, these make great snacks for anyone, young and old, of all activity levels.

Food For Thought  Sometimes stubbornness is synonymous with drive, determination, and perseverance.  Other times, stubbornness means being bull-headed and difficult.  There was at least one time in my life where being stubborn had all of these meanings for me.  Let me tell you about when I became a runner.  When I was growing up, I loved playing sports, but I hated the running part.  My asthma would flair up, my chest got in the way, and I wasn’t fast.  Can we just practice the drills and game, Coach, without all that running?  In college, I would run occasionally, because it was the “cool” thing to do, and I was in better shape so running wasn’t as hard.  After college I moved to the city and found an amazing park near my apartment.  I started out walking there, and then stared running a bit, because why not?  Fast forward a couple of years to marriage, then pregnancy and running was soooo far away from my mind.  After I had my daughter, I was huge and completely unable to run a minute, let alone a mile.  I also started on my master’s degree and switched from special education to kindergarten in my teaching.  Time for a run?  You have GOT to be KIDDING me!  By the time my daughter was 4, I was completely miserable with my body, and I knew I was unhealthy too.  I set out to get in shape, but had no intention of running.

After a year, I had lost about 50 pounds, from eating better, walking, and strength training.  Then I found the book Accidental Athlete by John Bingham.  (I’ve read almost all of his books-he’s so easy to relate to.)  I decided I could be a runner, too.  And I did.  That stubbornness became drive and determination…I’m not going to train for a 5K, I’m going to do a 10K!  And I did…3 in 6 months.  And six months after that, I did a half-marathon, along with an assortment of 5-Ks.  I felt amazing, but I also felt like shouting to all the nay-sayers-Look at me!  This fat girl can run!  Not only was I running to improve my health, but it became a quest to prove everyone wrong.  To the kids that called me names growing up…I will show you just how strong I am!  To the adults that pitied me because I couldn’t fit into the “cute clothes”-now who gets to shop in the Juniors department!  I was stubborn with my training, but it was paying off.  And so it went, for a few years, including a 90-pound weight loss.  By the time my daughter was 8, she was doing some 5-K’s with me.  In 2015, I had a scheduled race for every month June-November.  In September, I was preparing for a 10-K, and I felt something snap in my right foot on one of my runs.  I stopped, stretched my foot, and walked for about a half mile.  I thought I was ready to run some more, so I finished my run for that day, but my foot still didn’t feel right.  At home, I iced and elevated it, but I did not rest it.  I continued running, after all I had already paid registration fees for three more races this year.  I did my 10K and 2 more 5 K’s, running with foot pain every time.  See?  Stubborn!  When my “race season” was over in November, I decided not to run for 2 months, just walk, sure that it would improve.  I signed up for another half marathon in 2016 and started to train.  Wait, no, I couldn’t run.  And not just because I had slacked off a couple of months, but something was really wrong with my foot.  Every time I would try to run, it was like having nails driven up through the sole of my foot.  I literally could not run. In fact, I could only walk about 8-10 minutes at a time before I would have to stop and stretch my foot, and I could only walk long distances if I was very slow.  Needless to say, that half marathon didn’t happen for me.  In fact, I haven’t completed a race since then.   I now know that in addition to heel spurs and plantar fasciitis, I also have some tendon damage.  You see, my stubbornness that had driven me to complete so many goals in running, was the same stubbornness that damaged my foot to the point of not being able to run.  And now I’m sad.  I miss running…for so many reasons.  It brought me peace and calm, it let me work toward tangible goals and see my accomplishments, it made me look and feel better, and JOY-I was able to eat more when I was running.  I’m envious of seeing other people run, social media posts of people finishing their races, and there’s the dreaded “so are you still running?”  But honestly, I’m thankful that I can still walk and hike, which is a huge passion of mine.  I have friends and family battling illnesses that cannot enjoy these physical activities.  But I’m not giving up on running yet.  I’m in a new season of my life, where I’m not on my feet all day, and I know the important role that shoes and foot stretches play in my life.  So maybe, I could just be stubborn enough to get myself back into running again, but this time I’ll be a lot more considerate of my body when it says injury.

Today’s Scriptures  When I was running, I always took particular note of verses that seemed to apply to running.  A few of these verses became like mantras for me, both before and during runs.  I would like to share a few of those today.

Isaiah 40:29-31 “He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Colossians 1:11 “being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience…”

Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Proverbs 16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his step.”

Today’s Recipe  I don’t really have a recipe to share today, but I do have some snack options for those of you who are trying to treat your body right, whether to train for running, maintain your energy levels, or just balance all of the indulgences with some better options.  I love to cook and bake decadent desserts and rich entrees, but we all know we can’t eat that way all of the time.  I can always tell when I’ve spent too much time indulging in treats.  When I was running, I read a lot about sports nutrition.  I figured I could use all the help I could get.  I knew I’d never be a fast runner, so I at least wanted to have endurance.  The key is to eat the right type of carbohydrates prior to endurance activities, and follow with a balance of protein and carbohydrate to repair muscle and replace what nutrients were lost.  And during this quest, I found my absolute FAVORITE snack.

Greek Yogurt Sundae
Vanilla Greek yogurt with creamy peanut butter and mini-dark chocolate chips

My Favorite Post-Run Snack: Greek Yogurt Sundae-All you have to do is stir in a tablespoon of creamy peanut butter into vanilla Greek yogurt and top with a tablespoon of mini-chocolate chips.  You can eat like this, but I stirred mine until blended and it was like eating healthy cookie dough!  It sounds crazy, but it is SOOO good.  It also makes a great dessert when you want a little something sweet in the evening.  You really need to try this!

Here are ten more of my favorite snacks from my running days:

  • Pita chips and carrots with hummus
  • String cheese and turkey slice with a clementine
  • Banana with peanut butter
  • Tuna Toast
  • Mixed nuts and raisins
  • String cheese with an apple
  • String cheese with crackers
  • Egg toast with avocado
  • Chocolate milk
  • Apple slices with peanut butter